9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger reports on the advancement in the House yesterday of Senate Bill 19-181, the year’s landmark legislation to reform oversight of the oil and gas industry–a 7-4 Energy and Environment Committee vote that took place, scandalously opponents would have you believe, well after midnight once again:
The House Energy and Environment Committee approved Senate Bill 181, the oil and gas reform package, in a 7-4 vote early Tuesday morning after another long night at the Colorado State Capitol.
The bill already passed the state Senate and had its first hearing in the House on Monday which began at 1:30 p.m. and didn’t wrap up until early Tuesday. The bill now goes to the House Finance committee for consideration.
The Denver Post’s Bruce Finley:
State lawmakers’ attempt to re-focus Colorado’s regulation of the $10 billion fossil-fuel industry gained momentum Monday after scores of supporters and opponents packed a first committee hearing in the House on the proposed oil and gas legislation…
Now oil and gas industry leaders are calling the new legislation, launched at the start of the month, “sweeping” and “an overhaul.” The Colorado Petroleum Council, a branch of the American Petroleum Institute, last week launched campaign-style television ads opposing the legislation-in-progress, accusing state lawmakers of operating “in the middle of the night” — a March 5 hearing in the Senate ran from the afternoon to past midnight — and claiming that the legislation is “to shut down energy production in Colorado.”
9NEWS’ fact check of an ad running from the American Petroleum Institute–the same API that employs former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb to attack this bill–underscores the biggest hole in the oil and gas industry’s process grievance against SB-181, the claim that the bill is being passed “in the dead of night” or otherwise without adequate input from the public. The truth is that this legislation has been through exhaustive hearings in the Senate featuring hours of public testimony in addition to last night’s hearing that again went well past midnight–technically “in the dead of night,” sure, but ignoring the hours of public testimony that preceded the late-night vote.
At this point, the gap between industry scare tactics and reality is sufficiently wide that there is little to be gained from further hours-long processions of the same rehashed arguments. But it’s useful to point out again that at least in the Senate hearings, grassroots supporters of the bill actually outnumbered the mostly-paid employees of the oil and gas industry who turned out to protest on the clock. We haven’t seen the exact breakdown of supporters vs. opponents from yesterday’s hearing but we’re told it’s a similar story.
In summary, the industry and their Republican minority backers in the legislature are determined to spin this bill as some kind of tyranny. But the facts, from the process to pass the legislation to the true composition of the crowds thronging the capitol to argue both for and against it, consistently fail to live up to the spin.
As for the doom and gloom predictions from the same parties of the bill’s effects? Experience will be the only cure for that. Grownups can read what’s in the bill, but purposefully misinformed opponents are just going to have wait until after it’s passed and does not “destroy the oil and gas industry” to see the truth for themselves.
Just like Nancy Pelosi said.